Genetic selection is a very promising alternative to breed lower-methane emitter animals and its success will depend on the heritability (h2) of the indicator traits included in the breeding programs. In the last decade, a considerable number of genetic parameter studies in various sheep and cattle populations have been reported in the literature. In order to summarize these results, a comprehensive literature review identified 60 h2 estimates across 18 scientific papers published between 2011 and 2017. A meta-analysis using a random-effects model and different scenarios (based on indicator traits grouping and data included in the analyses) was performed. Our findings confirmed that methane emission indicator traits in cattle and sheep are under moderate genetic control (h2 estimates ranged from 0.14 to 0.26). It seems that methane intensity and residual methane traits and direct measures of methane emission have homogeneous estimates of h2 across the analysed studies, contrarily to methane production and methane yield traits and indirect measures of methane emission based on prediction equations, which displayed significant heterogeneity across studies. This might have practical implications when deciding which kind and which traits to use in selection programs, especially when international collaboration might be involved. More investigation in this area is warranted. Keywords: beef cattle, dairy cattle, methane intensity, genetic parameters, random-effects model
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Challenges - Environmental, , 740, 2018
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